Tag Archives: Somerset

Cotleigh Brewery – Old Buzzard Dark Ale

Cotleigh Brewery – Old Buzzard Dark Ale 4.8%

Old Buzzard Dark Ale
Cotleigh Brewery – Old Buzzard Dark Ale

This is a dark chestnut brown coloured with a sweet malt aroma. It has a sweet malt taste with chocolate notes and a hop bitter finish.

A very god dark ale I give it my 5*
This is brewed in Wiveliscombe in Somerset.

Cheddar Ales – Gorge Best Bitter

Cheddar Ales – Gorge Best Bitter 4.0%

Cheddar Ales - Gorge Best Bitter
Cheddar Ales – Gorge Best Bitter

This is the Best Bitter ale from Cheddar Ales brewed in Cheddar, Somerset. It is an Amber coloured ale with a malty aroma. The ale has a hop bitter taste with strong grapefruit notes.  Challenger bittering hops, related to Northdown and Northern Brewer, add the citrus grapefruit taste. Compare to their ever popular Potholer Bitter.

Cheddar Ales

James Street Brewery – Rudolf Revenge

James Street Brewery – Rudolf’s Revenge 5.2%

James Street Brewery Rudolf's Revenge
James Street Brewery – Rudolf’s Revenge

This is the Christmas seasonal offering from the brewery based within The Brew House in Bath. It is a dark red ale with a spicy aroma. The taste is a slightly sharp start, with a full Christmas spicy and fruity follow-on. A porter style and a good Christmas, seasonal ale.

James Street Brewery

Harry’s Cider – Original Dry Sparkling

Harry’s Cider – Original Dry Sparkling 6.0%

Harry's Original Dry Cider
Harry’s Original Dry Cider

Harry’s Somerset Cider is relatively new on the greater Cider scene. Originally a dairy farm with cider orchard, supplying Apple’s to the now log defunct Taunton Cider Co, the family have switched their day job from dairy farmers to cider makers producing the usual range of ‘Dry, Medium and Sweet’ ciders.

Harry’s Original cider is their ‘Dry’ offering. It has a golden colour, more typical of the larger market medium-dry ciders with a fruity apple aroma and a fine champagne fizz. The taste is sweet apples with a dry finish. Certainly more dry tasting than most bottled dry ciders but not as dry as a traditional farmhouse dry.
They do produce a traditional Harry’s farmhouse range, so it would be interesting to try their Farmhouse Dry

RCH Brewery – Chocolate Mild

RCH Brewery – Chocolate Mild

This Mild ale was on offer from one of our local Breweries at the Burnham-on-Sea Food Festival. It is an excellent dark ale with a chocolate aroma. The taste is a mix of chocolate and vanilla notes and a sweet  malt background, with a hint of hop sharpness. overall a satisfying taste. An excellent ale if you like the milder beers, that were historically common and more popular further north in the UK. It is nice to see a mild ale in the South West. My 5* rating

Just Ales Micro pub

Just Ales is the first micropub in Somerset

Just Ales beer and cider menu
Just Ales beer and cider menu

If you want the usual mass produced lagers, Just Ales is not for you and you will be directed to a pub around the corner. Just Ales, located in England’s smallest city – Wells Somerset, is what it says on the label, it just sells real ales, oh and a few local farmhouse ciders. It has up to seven real ales selected by Pete and Andy, based upon their knowledge of available real ales and may be some recommended.

Just Ales 1/3 pint beer flight
Just Ales 1/3 pint beer flight

Look out if you are visiting, you could just walk past, without realising it is there, unless you are greeted at the door as we were. As well as real ales and farmhouse ciders, bottled ales including the odd Trappist ale from Belgium; you can have a tea or coffee for the nominated driver. The food menu includes – pickled eggs, crisps, pork scratchings, or a ‘top of the range Somerset’ Barbers 1833 Cheddar cheese bowl. A speciality is a pint and a homemade pork pie.  This is not a pub if you want to sit with a meal, it is for those who want to try a real ale or 2 and talk beer etc.

Just Ales beer and cider cellar
Just Ales beer and cider cellar

The ales may be local, such as Milk Street Brewery in Frome, or may be from the West or Wales or further afield. On our second visit we sat with Andy and his dog and a couple of local Wilkins cider connoisseurs, and chatted about bourbon whiskeys, whilst nibbling on some of the great Cheddar cheese.

The Good and the Grape

New west country wine – and beer – merchant.

Somerset, along with the rest of the west has a thriving micro and small brewery sector, and the north of Somerset, around the Mendips to the River Avon is particularly strong for small breweries. It is interesting that we have the smallest city in England, which is proving to be a new source of available and interesting beer. Wells has seen the usual pubs and small hotels that have come and some have gone. Yet in 2016 it now has a new micropub (yet to be sampled).

Alongside this development, a new independent wine merchant The Good and The Grape has been opened by Andrew Kinnersley, a local to the Wells. Like many wine outlets, he does stock the drink in question – beer but Not the usual supermarket selection of lagers from the big combines, or a small sprinkling of bottles in the corner. Andrew stocks a selection of his specially sourced craft ales.

My beer from The Grape and The Good in Wells
My beer from The Grape and The Good

The joy of The Grape and the Good is that Andrew knows his beer stock and does not look down on the beer connoisseur in favour of the wine drinkers. Where else would you buy a beer and have it wrapped as if it was a bottle of excellent Bordeaux.

We chatted briefly about the trend of using excessive American hops and such, and I left with his recommendation to try a dark beer from a new brewer in Dorset – Gyle 59, see separate post.

James Street- Big Red

James Street- Big Red 4.5%

James Street Brewery - Big Red
James Street Brewery – Big Red

This is a dark chestnut ale, with a good malt aroma. The taste is malty with a bitter follow on. I would place this ale between a Bitter and an IPA in taste, well hopped with a dry bitter finish.

This ale is produced by the James Street Brewery, headed up by brewster Anna, based in The Brew House, James Street in Bath. Giving not only the environment of an old style pub, with barrel tables, in which to try the beer offerings and food but you can see the brewery inside, behind a glass wall.  Well worth a visit… or two!

Cotleigh Brewery – Long Eared Owl

Cotleigh Brewery – Long Eared Owl 4.9%

Cotleigh Brewery - Long Eared Owl
Cotleigh Brewery – Long Eared Owl

This is a chestnut coloured ale, with a good malt and hop aroma balance. It has a rich hop and malt taste of a good English bitter.

This is another of Somerset’s Cotleigh Brewery bird themed ales, which if you are looking for a traditional bitter ale with good malt and hop balance this is a good choice.